Second Chance At Fate

Rachel cut all ties with most of the Jonas family years ago, the pain too much for her to live with. She had run to L.A. to pursue her dream of becoming a songwriter and had become successful enough to enjoy her life. But she had kept in contact with one brother and now he was getting married. He wanted his best friend there to share in his happiness.

Rachel can't say no and now she is in Long Island, New Jersey to be with him and share in his joy. But she couldn't expect his own brother not to be there. And now she has to face the pain and person again. But what if fate lets them rewind the past and give them a second chance? Will they take it or will they walk away again?


2. Got A Crush

Rachel watched him run towards her, his bright smile outshining the sun that shone brightly down on them.  He looked amazingly happy, the small girl whose hand he held/dragged the reason for it.  Rachel stood rooted towards at the car door as the driver piled her small selection of bags at the corner of the car.  She felt herself mentally forcing a smile to her face as he approached.  It wasn’t for him; he could read her better than that and wouldn't ask for it.  It was for the girl with him.  She was about to get married to the man of her dreams and Rachel didn’t want to be the party-pooper.  When he was only a few feet from her, she lifted her arms and felt herself being wrapped up tightly against him and swirled around with her feet off of the ground.  She felt laughter finally filling her throat as the world flew by her.

“Finally, my girl is here!”  Joe was yelling in her ear, his voice deep and booming.  “Now the true party can begin.” 

“Joe, you need to put me down.”  She swatted his back as he continued to swing her around.  “Seriously Ashley, are you sure you want to marry this overgrown five year old?” 

“Joe, put her down.”  Joe did as Ashley asked, keeping his arms around Rachel’s waist, his face glowing with joy.  “I’m hoping I can age him at least a few years by Saturday but I'm not promising anything.”

Rachel cocked her eyebrow in a critical eye at him.  She took in his dark curly hair, strong eyebrows, bright eyes, full lips, wide shoulders, chiseled chest and arms.  His body had grown from boy to man in the years she had known him but his spirit remained young at heart.  She hoped it always would.

“I don’t think you have a chance.”  She wrapped her arms around him and squeezed tightly.  Any other fiancé may be jealous of their relationship but Ashley understood the support they gave each other and had became Rachel’s friend instead of enemy. 

Joe finally let go of her, his hand subconsciously reaching for Ashley’s.  Rachel noticed how his large hand swallowed Ashley’s smaller one and how her body leaned into his.  He gently kissed her temple and her face lit up at the intimate contact.  Rachel felt her stomach twist at the sight of it.  It was not that she was jealous of Joe, she was jealous of the idea of having that small moment with someone that you loved so much.  

“I am so glad you came.  It wouldn’t have been the same without you.”  Joe picked up the few bags that Rachel had brought with her, managing to still maintain contact with Ashely.  “I’m being rude and not inviting you in.  We made your room ready for you.”

Rachel picked up the last two bags and turned back towards the house.  She felt a slight wave of warmth come through her as she took it in.  She hadn’t been here in quite awhile and it did have a feeling of coming home.  The room Joe was talking about was located in the back corner with sweeping views of the beach and water.  She had stayed in that room every time she came and it had become hers.

“You didn’t have to do that.  I’m sure that there is better use of space since there will be so many people here.”

Joe nudged her in the shoulder as they walked up the drive towards the sweeping veranda, Ashley beside him.  “Hey now, no talking craziness this week.  That is my sister’s room and always be my sister’s room.  There is no way someone else is staying in there.” 

Rachel rolled her eyes at him outwardly, inside feeling a block of ice forming in his stomach.  As soon as she stepped through that door, she knew that she would be walking back into the ocean of emotions she had held at bay for the last five years.  She felt a squeeze on her shoulder from Joe, his knowledge of her fears very intimate.  As the door swung open, she walked back into the Jonas family.  Back into the emotion.

As soon as she stepped into the entry way, she found herself immediately engulfed in another tight Jonas hug.  The male Jonas who was currently crushing was another who had grown into his body.  What was it with these scrawny boys growing up?

“Do any of you guys know how to give gentle hugs?”  Rachel pushed against his chest trying to give herself room to breathe.  “I’m glad to see you too Frankie.”

After a few more seconds, Frankie loosened his grip and looked at Rachel.  “I can’t believe you’re really here.  Joe said you were coming but I told him I wouldn’t believe it until you were in this house.”

“Do you think I would actually miss his wedding?”  Rachel gave him one more squeeze before stepping away.  He didn't need to know about her need to be convinced.  Frankie really did have the Jonas genes.  The last time she had seen him, he was at the awkward age of fourteen.  Now he had the same athletic body, strong face and wavy hair of Joe and what she assumed his brothers had.  “Somebody has to keep him in line and Ashley will be too busy with the whole getting married thing and you guys will be too busy trying to get him in trouble which I will have to hold at bay.”

“I never cause any trouble.  That’s Joe’s category.”  He tossed the ball between his hands, tilting his head towards the back of the house and the large yard area.  “You up for some bone-crushing?  Nick and Kev are already back there.”

Rachel immediately felt the ice in her stomach again at the mention of his name.  Frankie didn’t notice the slight change in her body language but Joe and Ashley did.  Ashley knew about the history by extension. 

“Yeah sure.  Just let me get Rachel’s stuff upstairs and I’ll meet you guys out back.”  Joe let his hand drop from Ashley’s and grabbed the ball in midair when Frankie tossed it at him and twirled it on his finger.  “And I think you will have to deal with the bone-crushing.”

“As if.”  Frankie grabbed the ball back and walked to the back screen door.  “Five minutes and I’m coming up to get you.”  He swung the door open and walked through it while yelling to his brothers who were already there.  “Hey man, he’s in.”

Joe turned to face Rachel, his hand stroking her warm cheek.   “I can skip the game if you want.  We can just hang out, watch movies and eat ice cream.  I’ve converted Ashley to the whole Chocolate Marshmallow thing.”  He winked conspirately at Rachel before turning to go up the stairs. 

Ashley laughed at her fiancé.  “I swore I wouldn’t like it but I had to give in.  It’s just too good.”  She quickly gave Rachel a hug before turning towards the family room where Rachel could see a pile of place cards on the coffee table.  “But I will have to pass it up.  I have some work to do and I think you guys could use some friendly bonding time.”   She smiled at Joe and blew him a kiss.  Joe smiled at her and blew one back.

“Thanks babe.  I’ll see you in a bit.”

“Thanks Ashley.”  Rachel followed Joe up the stairs and down the hall towards the room that was unofficially hers.  Joe swung the door open and placed the bags on the large bed in the middle of the room. 

“Welcome to Hotel Jonas.  I know you will enjoy your stay.”  He plopped down on the bed beside the bags and patted the blank spot left.  “Come sit.”

Rachel came across the room and sat beside him, leaving her bags on the floor.  She heard the shrieks of his brothers coming from outside and immediately recognized his.

“You should go and join your brothers.  I really could use a nap before dinner.” 

“I don’t have to.  I want to catch up with my best friend.”  Joe squeezed her arm.  "I haven't seen you in like six months.  The phone is just not the same."

“We have a whole week.”  She pushed him up off of the bed and towards the door.  “Give me a couple of hours to relax and then you can all of the bonding time Ashley will allow.”

Joe fought her slightly but knew when she wouldn’t give in.  He made it to the doorway before returning and giving her another hug.  When he separated, he held her face in his hands.

“I know how hard this was for you to be here but you have no idea how much Ashley and I appreciate it.”  He kissed her forehead and winked at her.  “Can you believe I’m actually getting married?"
Rachel laughed as she pushed him out the door.  “Not really.  I think Ashley may be a bit of a fool for taking you on but she does have my support for the rest of your days.”

“I’ll tell her she has your sympathies.”  His face grew serious for a moment as he spoke.  “You know that whatever you need, Ashley or I will do.”

“I know.  That’s why I love both of you.”

Joe left then, his feet making thumping noises as he ran down the stairs and towards the backyard.  Rachel heard him yell a challenge as he crashed through the door.  She walked over to the window where there was a comfortable window seat that she could watch the action from, a spot she had spent hours at.  She turned the blinds to the right angle so she could see but didn’t lift them since she didn’t want him to see her watching.  She tucked her feet underneath her and leaned her head against the window frame.

She watched the scene before her and smiled at the sight.  Frankie and Kevin were on one team, Joe and Nick on the other.  All four were wearing shorts and had stripped off their shirts to reveal their toned chests and arms.

She watched as Joe ran through the yard, his arms above him holding the football in his hands as he scored a touchdown.  Frankie immediately tackled him afterward, both of them laughing as they fell to the ground.

She turned to the other side of the yard and saw Kevin and Nick laughing at their brothers.  She felt her eyes drawn to him and his curly hair.  She could immediately picture the exact colour of his eyes and the shape of his nose and lips.  She had stared at them for so long and pictured them even after she had walked away.  His body too had grown into itself and his hands were resting on his narrow hips, his wedding band glinting in the sun.

Her stare was broken as Frankie ran into the scene, tripping amongst his feet and landing in a heap with his other brothers.  She heard his laugh amongst the others and remembered how his eyes danced when he laughed. 

Her mind went back to another time she had heard it, years earlier.

Flashback - Nine years earlier

“Rachel, you promised me food if I came over.”

“And you’ll get it.  But first I need you to help me with my Calculus homework.  Not everybody has the luxury of a private tutor.”  The brothers were back in New Jersey for a break before they continued their first world tour and he had come over to hang out.

“Fine.”  He pushed himself off of the bed he had been sitting on and pulled up a chair to the desk she was sitting at.  He pulled her book towards him and looked down at the problem she was trying to solve.  “You missed the co-efficient and that’s why the number is off.”  He pushed himself back and leaned the chair back.  “I am a brainiac.”

Rachel stuck her tongue out at him before returning to her notebook and looking at the problem again.  Crap, he was right.  She hated that.  She finished the problem and went on to the next which she needed his help with as well.  After half an hour and four problems later, the boy was whining again.

“Seriously Rachel, you need to feed this brain or I won’t be any help to you at all.” 

Rachel sighed and pointed at her bag in the corner of the room.  “Fine, there is a granola bar in my bag.  Take that and help me finish.”

He immediately pushed himself off of the bed again and moved towards the bag.  He dug through it and pulled out said granola bar.

“How much crap do you have in here?”  He went back to digging in her bag immediately after inhaling the granola bar.  “I think you need to clean this out.” 

“Bro, stay out of there.”  Rachel tossed her pen at him which he quickly ducked.  “Didn’t your mother tell you it’s rude to go through a woman’s things?”

“You’re not a woman, you’re Rachel.”  He continued digging and after a few moments pulled out a notebook.  He absently flipped it open and let the pages fall open.  “Hey, what’s this?”  He put the notebook on his lap before him and started reading.

“How can I keep this secret any longer?  I have to see him every day and pretend that everything is normal when I totally want to be his girlfriend.  And if he …”

Rachel felt her body freeze at the words.  He had grabbed the one book he couldn’t possibly read.  It was the book that professed her long and unrequited love for him.  And if he read a few more lines, his name would be spoken. 

“Rachel’s got a crush.  Rachel’s got a crush.”  His voice bounced throughout the room, loud and booming.  The book was being waved like a matador’s red cloak in front of her.  Rachel dived at him, trying to get the book back.  He easily dodged her and continued reading.  “I wonder what a first kiss would be like?  His lips are so sexy and full.  I dreamed about it again last night.  We were on the beach and he had brought a picnic with him.  A blanket was spread out beneath us and …”

“No,” Rachel yelled, finally grabbing the book from him.  His name had been the next word.  But in recovering the book, she had tripped over the corner of the bed and landed in a pile on the floor, her feet tangled now in the straps of the bag.  She looked up angrily at him while his laugh filled the room.  It was velvet and sexy and his eyes were dancing.

“So who is the crush,” he said while the laughter continued.

Rachel found her way out of the straps and tucked the book in the corner of the closet, keeping herself between it and him.

“None of your business.”

He stepped towards her and set his hands on her shoulders.

“I’m sorry Rachel.  I shouldn’t have read it.”  He lifted her chin as she wouldn’t look at him.  “But are you going to tell me who you dreaming about?  We’re not supposed to keep secrets.” 

She almost said it.  She almost put his name in the air but she swallowed and held it back.  She shook her head and felt his arms wrap around her.  He spoke in her ear, his voice soft and low.

“Alright.  But I’ll get it out of you someday.”  He kissed her temple and squeezed her tighter. 

Rachel stayed still, imagining he was hugging her as her boyfriend.  But that was all she would do.  Imagine.  Because he could never know.  That name would remain only in her heart.

Rachel continued watching the game when the memory was done.  She watched as his muscles stretched beneath his tight skin and his sweaty curly hair fell in his face.  Her hand twitched to brush it away.  A few times, he looked up at the window, probably knowing she was at least there if not watching.  Did that bother him?  But he hadn’t stopped playing.  She knew he wouldn’t.

He had looked up again, the corner room now drawing him.  He knew he should go and talk to her, welcome her to the event.  But five years stood between them.  Five years of no calls or contact on either of their parts.  He had thought of inviting her to his wedding one year earlier but hadn’t been able to bring himself to do it.  Instead, he had told himself she wouldn’t have come anyway and it would only make things awkward if she got the invite. 

“Hey bro, let’s get going.  We’ve only got a few minutes left before Ashley drags him back to do centrepieces or something.”  Frankie’s voice pricked his thoughts and he looked down to see his three brothers waiting for him.  He quickly shook his head and ran towards them.

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